New York City has issued the nation’s first known “intersex” birth certificate, providing it to a 55-year-old born with female genitalia, male chromosomes and a combination of male and female reproductive organs.
Going forward, New York City will amend birth certificates to denote an intersex gender “with appropriate documentary evidence from a U.S.-licensed doctor,” the Health Department said in an emailed statement. “The department will continue to work with community partners as we adopt changes to more accurately reflect a person’s sex.”
By deadline, a spokesperson did not respond to Heat Street’s request for clarification about what qualifies as appropriate documentary evidence.
The recipient of the new intersex birth certificate would once, at birth, have been known as a hermaphrodite, or a person with both male and female sex organs. The term hermaphrodite is now considered by some to be offensive with the preferable term now being “intersex”. In the past, parents of intersex babies would choose one gender — male or female — for their child’s birth certificate.
It’s unclear whether New York City would approve the amended birth certificate for someone who identifies as intersex, but who has genitals, reproductive organs and chromosomes associated with only one specific sex.
The birth certificate’s recipient, Brooklyn-born Sara Kelly Keenan, told NBC Out: “Not all intersex people will choose to identify legally as intersex, and not all parents will choose to have their intersex child identified as intersex on birth documents. But for those who do, the option must exist.”